Welcome to the “Ask Her Anything” Series at The LightHouse Birth Collective!
(Spoiler Alert: It’s the most fantastic Interview Series you’ll ever read. I’m just telling you now.)
“Ask Her Anything” is the fresh, brutally honest cousin of ‘The Boring Old Interview.” In this unprecedented opportunity, The LightHouse is merging nearly three whole centuries of our Members’ combined birth experience with the chance for prospective clients to be brave and ask the questions that are really on their minds.
One by one, our Midwives, Doulas, and Birth Photographer are answering all kinds of questions that were submitted by our followers – real reader questions that deal with pregnancy, partners, childbirth, and beyond. The questions are intimate, they’re vulnerable, and they’re raw – much like the childbearing year itself – but if you know “birth folks,” you’ll know that they love a good challenge, and our Members didn’t hesitate to tackle even the toughest questions.
We all know that a single photograph can capture more than just a moment – there are emotions, relationships, and once-in-a-lifetime memories that seem to be made immortal by a photograph taken at just the right time – and there is no more powerful moment to capture than that moment of life-giving birth.
Katy Timney‘s birth photography has been celebrated on multiple occasions by major news outlets like The Huffington Post, and her work has been chosen for international publication in articles such as “30 Births That Show Pure, Beautiful Love” and “43 Moments That Show The Incredible Strength it Takes to Give Birth.” She doesn’t only excel at birth photography, either – maternity, newborn, family, and even bereavement photography can all be a part of the childbearing year, and Katy wants to be there to capture every milestone along the way.
We asked, she answered, and here it is – our “Ask Her Anything” Interview with The LightHouse Birth Collective’s award-winning Birth Photographer, Katy Timney!
1. What about birth photography made you want to focus on it specifically?
I’m all about raw, unfiltered emotions, and I love photojournalism/documentary-style photography. I came across a particularly stunning photograph from a professional birth photographer about 4 or 5 years ago that was so emotionally overwhelming that my jaw dropped and it brought tears to my eyes, and at that point, I knew I had to at least give it a shot. I’ve always had a slight fascination with pregnancy and birth, just because I find it SO cool that we can grow tiny humans inside of us! Plus, babies are just adorable. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that birth photography was ‘a thing’ (and would end up one day being MY thing!).
A friend of mine was pregnant at the time I saw that first birth photo, and with the powers of Facebook and a simple “would anyone be open to having me in the room when you give birth?” post… I was at her side a few months later as she welcomed her first son.
(Below: The first look at my first birth.)
2. Have you ever done a photography session following the loss of a baby? Are you associated with the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep?
Yes, I started volunteering for NILMDTS last year. I’ve only captured those tender moments for a couple of families so far, but I’ve also captured some very special family portraits for families long after the loss of a child or spouse. We’ve incorporated their loved ones in special ways to help their memory live on. Personally, I love including the memory of someone who has passed, because I feel it’s important for families to remember that their loved ones are never truly gone (in a spiritual sense). I lost my mother when I was 17, and my brother when I was 25, and I still feel their presence and am grateful for all of the memories we had captured together, and the meaningful ways we’ve been able to “pay tribute” to them since their passing.
(Below: Mom looks lovingly at her beautiful “rainbow baby” girl, while wearing a special urn pendant necklace containing some of the ashes of her angel baby that was lost during pregnancy the previous year.)
3. Do you offer other photography services? Could you do maternity, birth, and newborn photography? It would be great to have pictures of everything, but doing it separately could be expensive.
Yes! My “niche” is maternity, birth, newborn and family. I love seeing families grow! I also have been longing to photograph an adoption. I do have options to bundle together multiple sessions like maternity, birth and newborn. I really like to customize packages based on the wants and needs of each client, but I have a few general package ideas on my website for inspiration (but they are all fully customizable) and I offer payment plans.
(Below/Left to right: Maternity & family session at a local park, hospital birth, and newborn session at home 7 days later.)
4. Have you ever had a client who wasn’t satisfied with their pictures? What do you do in these circumstances?
Nope! But I offer a guarantee anyway. I’ve had some children that were less than thrilled about family pictures, or were particularly tired and cranky during a session, but somehow I’ve always been able to capture at least a few really special moments that the parents have loved. If I ever have someone who was not thrilled with their pictures, I would certainly offer to redo the session or refund their money.
(Below: Cranky baby vs happy baby – what a difference patience and freedom make! I’m not afraid of crawling backwards on the ground to keep a baby happy for some pictures!)
5. I’m scheduled to have a cesarean, but I really want birth photos anyway. Are you willing/able to come into the operating room to photograph?
Unfortunately, the presence of a birth photographer would be entirely up to the staff in the hospital! I have not made it into the operating room yet (however I’ve only had one scheduled cesarean prospect meet with hospital staff to try to get me in there, but they told her she had to choose only one person to accompany her, and of course, her husband won). If allowed, I most certainly would love to be there!
I do offer “fresh 48” sessions, where I come within the first 48 hours of the birth and capture some of those “first” moments. These are an especially nice opportunity for introducing family members, or for those who want some first moments captured but don’t want (or are unable) to have the actual moment of birth captured. So, all is not lost if the operating staff doesn’t allow a birth photographer – I can be in the waiting room until I’m allowed in!
(Below: Hours after a planned c-section, I met mom in her hospital room as she was snuggling with her new baby girl, and captured the family welcoming the new baby.)
6. Has attending so many births made you more or less scared to give birth yourself?
LESS! Oh my.. with every birth I get more and more excited to have my own babies!
#1 – Women’s bodies are AMAZING. The more I learn about pregnancy and birth, the more I’m astounded by how cool our bodies are! We can do ANYTHING.
#2 – I learn so much working with pregnant mommas & other birth workers! Fear dissipates in the face of knowledge (at least most of the time)!
#3 – Watching women reach the brink of their preconceived notion of their limits, and then exceed them, and welcome their sweet baby into their arms with a wave of euphoria?! That is the epitome of strength, courage and love.. and I just can’t wait.
(Below: Tiny toes touching mom’s belly from the OUTSIDE, after an incredible early morning birth at home.)
You can read Katy’s professional profile, and be one click away from her contact information right here on The LightHouse Birth Collective site. Her business page, Katy Rose Photography, also showcases some of her marvellous portfolio, in addition to the shots The Huffington Post loved. No matter where you are in your childbirth journey, Katy will meet you there, and take the shots that will make those moments last a lifetime.